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Narendra Modi invites US CEOs to invest in India, says GST a gamechanger

LiveMint logoLiveMint 25-06-2017 Lalit K Jha

Washington: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday said India has now emerged as a business-friendly destination, more so with the upcoming implementation of landmark goods and services (GST) beginning next month, while asking CEOs of top US companies to invest in the country.

Modi also said India attracted largest foreign direct investment (FDI) as a result of the National Democratic Alliance’s (NDA) policies in the last three years, during his interaction with a group of CEOs of top 20 US firms.

In a round-table interaction with the group, including Tim Cook of Apple Inc., Satya Nadella from Microsoft Corp., Sunder Pichai from Google , John Chambers from Cisco Inc. and Jeff Bezos of Amazon.com Inc., Modi listed out steps taken by his government in the last three years and next moves.

“The whole world is looking at India. 7,000 reforms alone by GOI for ease of (doing) business and minimum government, maximum governance,” said Gopal Bagley, spokesperson of the ministry of external affairs said in a tweet from inside the meeting, quoting the prime minister.

India’s growth presents a win-win partnership for the country and the US, and American companies have a great opportunity to contribute to that, Modi told the CEOs, according to Bagley.

“The implementation of the landmark initiative of GST could be a subject of studies in US business schools,” Modi said.

During the hour-long interaction, at the Willard Hotel, where he is staying, Modi gave a patient hearing to the wishlist of the CEOs.

Among other CEOs present at the meeting were Shantanu Narayen from Adobe, Ajay Banga from Mastercard, David Farr from Emerson, Doug McMillon and Punit Renjen from Deloitte Global. Mukesh Aghi, president of the US India Business Council, was also present at the meeting.

Posting a group picture of the prime minister with the CEOs, Bagley said, “strengthening the Indo-US economic partnership”.

In a recent policy document, USIBC said the US-India commercial and strategic relationship supports global security, promotes economic growth and creates jobs for both countries and the global economy.

“Today, as we witness a paradigm shift in the erstwhile global order, an opportunity has emerged for both countries to set new standards in bilateral ties that will be bound by their shared values,” USIBC said.

Noting that US-India trade has tripled over the last decade, reaching a historic high of nearly $110 billion in 2015, USIBC said there is an opportunity for both the countries to also sync their regulatory and standards system to increase trade and investment.

In a separate statement, Jagdip Ahluwalia, executive director of Indo American Chamber of Commerce of Greater Houston, said the US and India share a very symbiotic relationship, and Modi’s first face to face visit with Donald Trump is important to strengthen the relationship between the two.

“On behalf of Houston, the energy capital of the world and home of the world’s largest Medical Center the IACCGH and the strong Indian American community hope to welcome Prime Minister Modi to Houston in the not too distant future,” Ahluwalia said.

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